How sad that the winners of most of the major Academy Awards to be handed out tomrrow night (YES!) are already known:
Best Supporting Actor: Eddie Murphy (over Jackie Earle Haley in Little Children, Alan Arkin in Little Miss Sunshine, and Mark Wahlberg in The Departed, all of whom were better, and Arkin wasn’t much of anything). Murphy is a gifted performer but I had developed amnesia between the premiere date of Dreamgirls and now and were just told today that Murphy was the frontrunner for this category, I would scratch my head so hard that it would have stretch marks.
Best Supporting Actress: I’ve actually seen all five performances, and save for Abigail Breslin’s, they were astonishing. A very tough race. It has been decreed that Jennifer Hudson shall win in this category, and I concur with this decree. She deserves it as well.
Best Actor: haven’t seen Half Nelson, Venus, The Last King of Scotland or Blood Diamond. Only saw the movie that probably contains the weakest performace: The Pursuit of Happyness, with nominee Will Smith. Forest Whitaker was a frontrunner in this category before the game of “Let’s tabulate who the frontrunner is” even began, but O’Toole is surging, not just because of sentiment but thanks to statistics as well (he’s picked up some of the Film Critics’ Best Actor Awards as the last wave of these awards came in). Will win: Whitaker.
Best Actress: All hail the Queen, of course. She will win and deserves to. In another year, Kate Winslet – now a five-time nominee – would have won – deservedly so.
Best Director: One never wants to jinx something by predicting its occurrence with serenity of confidence. All the jinxes in the world, however, will not stop Martin Scorsese from winning this award. Sorry Clint, but the Academy’s not going to make your day for a third time.
Best Picture: “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH.” “The game’s afoot, huh?” Indeed it is. I personally think Little Miss Sunshine and The Queen are out of contention, but there is a three-way race among The Departed, Babel and Letters from Iwo Jima. Babel is rightly despised by many voters. Mr. Eastwood claims to not make movies to win awards, but after Flags of our Fathers did not catch on fire, he moved the release date of Letters from Iwo Jima up to last December. Of course, the thought that it might be in a Million-Dollar Baby position once the moving up was accomplished never crossed his mind. It seems to have crossed the minds of some voters, though, who feel he’s been honored enough. In a year where three or more films is a legitimate contender (1991, 1995), the one that wins doesn’t win because it is deemed the best – even by the Academy’s flaccid definition of that term. It wins because the others lose. Thus, this is the year for “The Departed”